I have a difficult time thinking of William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 - March 8, 1930) as "great" because the Sixteenth Amendment (income tax) was passed during his administration; however, he qualifies as being great because he served both as President of the United States and as the Chief Justice of the United States, the only person to have served in both offices.
Taft was appointed to serve on the Ohio Superior Court in 1887, as Solicitor General of the
in 1890, and as a
judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1891. President William McKinley appointed him as
Governor-General of the United States
in 1900. President Theodore Roosevelt
appointed him to be Secretary of War in 1904.
Philippines Roosevelt handpicked Taft to succeed
him as President and appointed him to this office in order to better
"groom" him. "Taft
assumed a prominent role in problem solving, assuming on some occasions the
role of acting Secretary of State, while declining repeated offers from Roosevelt to serve on the Supreme Court."
Taft easily won his bid for the presidency in 1908 largely by riding the popularity of President Theodore Roosevelt, a fellow Republican. Domestically, Taft "emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, and improving the performance of the postal service" - in addition to passing the income tax law. His foreign policy included furthering "the economic development of nations in Latin America and Asia through `Dollar Diplomacy'" and "showed masterful decisiveness and restraint in response to revolution in
President Taft was very task-oriented; he was "oblivious to the political ramifications of his decisions [and] often alienated his own key constituencies. He lost his second bid for the presidency in 1912 in a landslide. After leaving the White House, Taft worked in academia, arbitration, and searching for world peace. After World War I (1921), President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft as Chief Justice of the
; he served in this
office until just prior to his death in 1930. United States
I found a lot of conservative quotes by President Taft, which can be found at this site.
"A government is for the benefit of all the people."
"A system in which we may have an enforced rest from legislation for two years is not bad."
"Anti-Semitism is a noxious weed that should be cut out. It has no place in
"As the Republican platform says, the welfare of the farmer is vital to that of the whole country."
"Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood."
"Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment."
"Failure to accord credit to anyone for what he may have done is a great weakness in any man."
"I am in favor of helping the prosperity of all countries because, when we are all prosperous, the trade with each becomes more valuable to the other."
"I do not know much about politics, but I am trying to do the best I can with this administration until the time shall come for me to turn it over to somebody else."
"I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God."
"No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people."
"Politics makes me sick."
"Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever."
"Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity."
"Substantial progress toward better things can rarely be taken without developing new evils requiring new remedies."
"We are all imperfect. We cannot expect perfect government."
"We live in a stage of politics, where legislators seem to regard the passage of laws as much more important than the results of their enforcement."